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Best Coffee in LA?

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Looking for the best cup o' joe (in store service, not interested in buying beans) in town. Please no Coffee Bean, Charbux, and I know about Urth (fave so far). Thx!

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  1. I like Peet's, especially in latte format. Tried Tremezzino and Le Pain Quotidien and they are both awful. But I will be watching for input from others.

    14 Replies
    1. re: carter

      Am a big Peet's fan as well, the Brentwood outlet on San Vicente has a good staff and the coffee is 1st rate. They also get their pasteies from La Brea Bakery whic is a plus in my book.

      1. re: Tusc

        Irth Cafe has good coffee. City Bean though rarely found is good.

        1. re: mc michael

          I meant Urth Cafe.

          1. re: mc michael

            I love groundworks in Venice.

            Especially their cafe mocha. best i have had in LA.

            1. re: tim

              Still a stalwart for Il Tramezzino, the original Beverly Drive location. A sweet, sweet pull.

              1. re: condiment

                Well I can only drink decaf, but I've always liked the Green Room when im in Hollywood.

                Green Room
                6752 Hollywood Blvd.

                Link: http://www.thegreenroom-hollywood.com/

            2. re: mc michael

              As I had mentioned in the original post, I know about Urth, so, uh, thanks...I was hoping for non-chains (eliminating Peet's), maybe something distinctively LA. But we aren't really a coffe town, are we?

              1. re: Adsvino
                Pudding Bucket

                Casbah Cafe on Sunset in Silver Lake makes a great coffee. I've had to give specific instructions to one barista who has no clue about ratio and proportion when it comes to steamed milk and coffee but the other 4 baristas know exactly what they're doing.

                Zona Rosa in Pasadena near the Landmark Theater just off Colorado serves up gourmet Mexican beans and chocolate. The baristas are friendly and know what they're doing for the most part.

                Cafe Mi Cultura, on Hollywood Blvd. on the Western edge of Thaitown, serves up a great coffee now and then but it's unreliable.

                Swork in Eagle Rock has a cultish following. It's got a good coffeehouse feel but sometimes it seems that novelty drinks take priority over good roasts.

                The Coffee Table in Silver Lake and Eagle Rock also have loyal followings but I think their coffee drinks are weak. As proof they use enormous economy cans of Hershey's syrup in their mochas.

                1. re: Pudding Bucket
                  Pudding Bucket

                  I almost forgot Chango Coffee in Echo Park! I like their mochas but I haven't been in a while since it's not on my way to work. But it's a nice space w/ a good eastside crowd.

                  Link: http://flickr.com/photos/dsnet/sets/8...

                  1. re: mc michael

                    Saw it, but 1) Would like to not have to drive to Claremont, and
                    2) Don't always agree with Gold (i.e. Lola's Peruvian)

                      1. re: mc michael

                        The number one coffee house in the "Cup o' Joe" survey is Catalina Coffee in Redondo Beach. I agree that it has a great atmosphere and good food. But, the three times I was there, I had awful coffee. I had espresso once and lattes twice. Has anyone had a good drink here

              2. re: mc michael

                I know you can get City Bean coffee at Fred 62 on Vermont/Franklin.

          2. Know you don't want Peet's, but it is definitely the best.

            One neat little place is the Conservatory in Culver City, near downtown on Washington (or maybe Culver, that area is confusing where all the streets merge.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Scooty

              I agree, the foam is like velvet.

            2. Only place I've had coffee worth a darn here is at Groundworks. I will say that my last couple of drinks there were not as good as a couple of months ago. It still isn't in the league of the best places in the country but it's tolerable. I have very high standards and roast my own coffee at home. Many people like the Coffee Conservatory on Washington Blvd. in Culver City (accross from Sony) but I haven't had good luck there. Groundworks link is below, since I like their philosophy of sustainable organic coffee.

              Link: http://lacoffee.com/index.html

              4 Replies
              1. re: mobleyfan

                So - where is/are the retail outlets for Groundwork? They seem to have a roasting operation mid city on Venice Blvd, but where do they brew and sell cups 'o goodness?

                Looks like a great place to patronize...


                1. re: AltadenaJack

                  1501 N. Cahuenga in Hollywood. Will try Monday AM and report back.


                  1. re: AltadenaJack

                    I've been to the Cahuenga location and the main street Santa Monica location (which is VERY tiny).

                  2. re: mobleyfan

                    Thanks to the genius of Mobleyfan and the rest of the hounds I now have a nearby place to get a great cup. Just got back from the Groundworks on Cahuenga. Didn't mention in the original post that I like lattes, etc., but to me the test of great coffe shop is their drip coffee, so that is what I usually drink on a daily basis.

                    Most of the offenders are either burnt, too extracted and dark (where milk doesn't even help), or too bland. I had the Rwandan coffee (yep, new to me, too) today at Groundworks and, as the barista said, it is very balanced. Not too dark, but sweet, rich and flavorful.
                    A truly great cup, and they sell the beans. thanks again!


                  3. Citybean (LA mag best of LA and Zagat best buy) which is a micro roaster provides coffee to Susina (I think the price beats Starbucks next door). The Starbucks employees go next door to Susina to have coffee!

                    Susina is at Beverly west of LaBrea.

                    I know they provide to other high end places but not sure where. Citybean is in Westwood but not sure if they serve a cup o' joe or just beans.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Food Good

                      Just to add to the last post, Citybean does serve coffee in their shop. Enjoy!

                      1. re: Food Good

                        Yes, City Bean does sell coffee by the cup, and it is truly not even close to the coffee across the street at Peet's, IMHO! Used to be better when the founders still operated the retail store, but that was at least 2 owners before. Think the founders still control the wholesale side though.

                      2. There is a place called Cafe in WLA at the cross section of Rochester and SM Blvd, just 1/4 block east of Centinela. Their only coffee comes from either the espresso machine or a coffee siphon... a strange brewing device invented by the french which uses some intricate glassware and schoolbook physics to brew your coffee just below the temperature of boiling in an impressive display by your seat. This is a really nice space to enjoy a cup. It's hours are about 2-10pm.

                        1. s
                          sally from LA

                          The coffee at the Il Fornaio coffeshops adjacent the restaurants is really excellent. There's one in Old Town Pasadena, Santa Monica, Beverley Hills (and no doubt numerous other locations - check their website)

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: sally from LA

                            just in case anyone thought that rec's on this board go unchecked, i checked this one. the coffee and espresso at the BH branch is blech. coffee was, like the woman in "baghdad cafe" says, "brown water." espresso was sour. croissant was like insulation.

                            i now dislike this restaurant for all purposes. well, consistency counts for something.

                            Link: http://www.ablowtothehead.blogspot.com

                            1. re: sally from LA

                              I had a espresso shot with sabayon (sp?) last night at the Pasadena location. Delicious! (and tasted fine to me even without sugar---a rarity)

                              1. re: AquaW

                                where is sabayon? do you know whose beans they're using?

                                1. re: revets2

                                  Sorry, I see the confusion now --- Sabayon was the dessert I had at Il Fornaio (italian custard with berries ~ not too sweet or heavy)! And I think they use their own proprietary blend of beans.

                                  (During their last Regional Tour of menus, one of their gifts was a coffee bar soap with their coffee grounds mixed in... really does a number on scrubbing rough spots of your body) ~ but I digress.

                                  1. re: AquaW

                                    oh, i get it. a bit slow. need a double shot, obviously.

                            2. Try the coffee at the refreshment stand during intermissions inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (downtown LA). They have great coffee. No idea where they get their beans nor how they brew it. It just rocks. I never miss the opportunity when I go see a performance there.

                              1. Best coffee is at Bob's Doughnuts at the Farmer's Market on Fairfax between Third and Beverly.

                                1. Cayenne cafe on Beverly, 2 blocks west of LaBrea. They serve City Bean and their espresso drinks are unbelivable. They also have turkish coffee.

                                  1. Another vote for Groundworks (the location in the Artists District is my fav), closely followed by Peet's, and trailing for 3rd place is surprisingly, the drip coffee in Whole Foods.

                                    Any tips on good coffee in Burbank greatly appreciated.

                                    1. Kelly's Coffee in Arcadia gets all of my business.

                                      1. I like the drip coffee at Europane in Pasadena but the best coffee I have had recently comes from Antigua Cultural Coffee House in El Sereno which grows their own coffee in a family plantation in Guatemala. Free WiFi as well.

                                        1. The Conservatory of Coffee in Culver City on Washigton Blvd, across from Sony. They roast their own beans - excellent espresso.

                                          1. I was at a shoot over the weekend downtown in the Arts District, and a bunch of the crew wound up having coffee from the Ground Works on Traction around the corner from Sci-Arc. Everyone commented on how damn good the coffee was.

                                            1. i'm surprised folks are not talking about specific baristas.

                                              we go to a place downtown where this guy, donny, makes the most ethereal espresso, cap, latte. smooth, strong with no bitterness. it's heaven. he's even made a great soy latte and i'd never really had a good soy latte.

                                              sometimes he'll have a day off and it's some other guy will be manning the machine...same beans, same machine, same milk and it's not the same.

                                              donny competed in his first regional barista championship and place really well given it was his first time and he didn't know he was going until two days before.

                                              donny's leaving downtown this friday:( and he says our best alternative is REDCAT at the Disney Concert Hall open 9am-9pm. they pull a mean shot and knows what they're doing. our office is bummed!

                                              but, you'll be able to try donny at sabor y cultura on hollywood at wilton. we look forward to making the pilgrimage there.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: revets2

                                                Are you referring to Tao Organic in Cal Plaza?

                                                1. re: lileor

                                                  yes, but i hear donny is leaving on friday.

                                                  the other baristas we've tried haven't quite cut the mustard.

                                                  an asian fellow, frank, is not a bad alternative, but he's usually working at skewer's across the way.

                                                2. re: revets2

                                                  Barefoot Coffee in Santa Clara, one of the top cafes in the Bay Area, trained Donny (who in turn trained the staff, I believe) and is a supplier for their beans. If you feel they are going downhill, you may want to let them, or Donny, know about it.

                                                  You're fortunate to have two excellent cafes nearby!

                                                3. the beans vary. i was there yesterday and the beans were from groundworks...no complaints. i don't know if barefoot trained donny. i remembering donny saying they were very generous to him providing beans and tips for the competition, but i think he had already some years of experience.

                                                  we won't be spending for lattes after donny leaves (we have a machine in the office), but will come back for the incredible pastries by breadbar (i think). the almond croissant...amazing.

                                                  1. The best coffee in los Angeles is a place called Caffe Etc. in Hollywood. All there coffees are certified organic. Plus, the food is first class.

                                                    1. Kings Road Cafe on Beverly has the bessssst cofffffe in the world

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: NYCLA

                                                        I second the Kings Road choice! I live in the Palisades but STILL buy beans from them.

                                                      2. AROMA'S certainly no secret. it's also no secret that most will go for the atmosphere, which is lovely. the coffee is satisfactory, but not mindblowing or artisanal. i know kids who've been hired as new baristas. don't get me wrong. i like AROMA and you'll find me there again, but i can't put it on a pedestal for others like CAFFE LUXXE.

                                                        1. For beans - check out Coffee Roaster on Ventura just east of Woodman.

                                                          1. The Conservatory in Culver City. Their Organic Espresso is delicous. Roasted in the Northern Italian tradition(not too dark). Latte art, beautiful bottomless triple ristretto(on request, nice folks. The Best!

                                                            1. Cafe Balcony at the intersection of Rochester and Santa Monica (and Centinela).

                                                              Fresh beans for siphon brews, a bunch of loose teas, and excellent pulls of ILLY espresso.
                                                              Free wifi. Limited food selection but the chicken panini is actually really good when you decide to eat there. Power outlets can be a problem since they no longer let you plug in at the bar. Hopefully that changes soon!


                                                              1. Kings Road Cafe at 8361 Beverly Blvd ( corner of Kings Road ) has a terrific coffee ( especially drip one ). Peets is amazing. Aroma Cafe at 4360 Tujunga Ave in Studio City is great.